I Didn’t See This Coming!

I’m back! I’m sure that many of you who are used to receiving my Monday Morning Blog wondered what happened to me the month of April. I’m sorry that I didn’t have time to explain, but I was completely unprepared for the events that knocked me down so fast and hard. I didn’t have any warning myself.

Let me explain. If you’ve followed me for a while, you will remember that on Christmas Day I tripped on a rug and landed head first on a wooden chest. So I started 2017 with 5 staples in my head, a concussion, and a constant ringing in my ears. I wrote about that experience on January 9 in the blog post 8 Reasons to Make 2017 the Year of New Connections, when one of the opening sentences was, “You know how we make our plans but the Lord directs our steps.” And the next week in, What If You Didn’t Get to Say Goodbye I wrote, “I don’t remember ever having an accident like that before.”

I did not see that accident coming or the length of time it would take to recover from the concussion. By February, I had come to terms with the fact that I would probably live the rest of my life with the ringing in my ears as an array of doctors told me there was probably no hope it would ever go away. Many people told me their stories of living with this distraction and all the many cures, but I am an easily distracted person so I knew it wouldn’t be easy for me to overcome, but with the Lord’s help, I will not be shaken.

Then I started feeling bad the beginning of March in a part of my body unrelated to the concussion—my lower stomach, from my navel down. After several weeks, it got worse so I started the round of doctors, ending up at an urologist who did a CT scan revealing I had kidney stones and gallbladder stones, but he was sure my pain was coming from one kidney stone that looked to be lodged in the top of my bladder. He sent me home for the weekend to drink gallons of water and lemonade, but nothing had changed by the time his office called to check with me on Monday, the last Monday in March and the day of my last blog post to you.

Two days later, on Wednesday at 6:30 AM I was being prepped for surgery to remove what we all thought was one stuck kidney stone. I told everyone I would be back in my office Thursday, including my publisher as we were working on the cover for my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Everyone I knew who had ever had kidney stones assured me by Wednesday night I would be feeling great!

Well I wasn’t feeling great. I opened my eyes after surgery and felt twenty times worse! What?! I cried I was so disappointed and one of the nurses said, “Who told you that you were going to feel better?” All my Facebook friends, and I just assumed it would be an easy surgery. Wrong!!!

It turns out I had “dozens” of small stones stuck in both ureters—the tubes that come out of your kidneys. Yes you read right, I had been walking around with dozens of stones!!! So that meant cameras, wires, surgical tools all had invaded both ureters to scrape out the dozens of stones, as well as removing any left in my kidneys. I came home with stints in both ureters, excruciating cramps and pain, and was knocked flat on my back for weeks.

As many of you know I’ve had breast cancer surgery three times, so I am not a wimp and I have a very high threshold for pain, which is how I went so long with all these stones; but I was in agony after this surgery. The recovery has been so much slower than I could have ever expected. There were times when I couldn’t even pray except to groan, which the Bible tells me the Holy Spirit interpreted those groans to God for me.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

Analysis of the stones showed the cause was a medication I was taking for a neurological condition, so in the midst of all this, I had to transition off those meds and onto a different one that made me nauseated, dizzy, and knocked me back down again.

So that’s where I’ve been this past month. But I made it back to church today and once we get these medications figured out, I pray the rest of the year will be better.

Points to Ponder

One Sunday morning, I was sobbing in pain and my husband asked what could he ask the church to pray for during their time of “Praise, Prayer, and Share.” The only thing I could say was, “Hope.” But I told him don’t say that or people will think my faith if faltering, but what I meant was hope that I was going to wake up one morning and feel better. I think he asked for prayer that there would be a turn for the better in my recovery.

He came home from church that morning with a gift bag from a sweet woman who serves our church by sending get well cards and gifts when a parishioner is ill. She had no idea of my plea for hope. In the bag was this cup!

Interestingly, the day before surgery I had turned into Crosswalk.com, who I write for regularly, a blog 10 Ways Not to Help a Suffer. Crosswalk posted that blog exactly one week after surgery. The blog talks about things not to do when someone you know is suffering, with the corresponding ten ways to help someone suffering. My church family, small group, and small mountain community were the example of everything to do to help someone. They showed up at the door with meals, sent cards, called faithfully, and prayed continually. As I walked into church today, I was greeted over and over by “It’s so good to see you back and I was praying for you!”

My next article assigned by Crosswalk is “How to Remain Hopeful When the Pain Won’t Stop.” I’ll let you know when that posts because I will share more of what kept me going and hopeful this past month.

Two days after surgery, the copy edits from my publisher arrived for me to review. It would be my last chance to make any changes or corrections and to review the changes their editors had made. When I let the product manager for Mentoring for All Seasons know about the surgery and it would probably be a few weeks before I could look at these, she quickly extended the April 21 deadline to today May 1. During the month, she checked in to see how I was doing, and often I was miserable. She continually sent me prayers along with this sweet graphic.

So while the health issues this year caught me completely by surprise, I know that God is never caught off guard and He sustains me. The word He gave me in both the concussion and the recovery from this surgery is: I will not be shaken.

God willing, I will be back next week. Thank you for those who prayed for me that knew about this, and the many Facebook friends who let me know their prayers and thoughts were with me. I was so blessed to see all of your comments when I felt up to checking in on Facebook. I pray if any of you are suffering, you also know that our hope is in the Lord who never leaves our side.

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Comments

  1. Our friend in common is Penny Carlevato who sent me your book. Since last July I have lived with two kinds of lung cancer. Decided not to have surgery or chemo and radiation I am showing no symptoms other than the timer in the left lung has doubled in size and has invaded the membrane around my heart. My doctor tells me it would be a blessing if that tumor would invade the heart so I could bleed out instantly and not suffer the path of cancer filling in both lungs.
    My husband laid hands on a prayer shawl (he does this often) and told me he strongly felt the Holy Spirit and that was impressed to tell me that I am healed of edinocarcinoma.

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Oh Carol I’m so sorry to hear about your cancer and praise God for the love of your husband for you and the Lord! Let me pray for you here too.
      Lord we come to you in faith that your love for Carol is never ending. Thank you for no pain or symptoms and Father if it be your will, we ask you to shrink and remove this tumors. We know you want only the best for Carol and we ask that you comfort her and her husband and that their love for you and each other will be a testimony to all who know them. We know that the days for each of us are only known by you and we are blessed that when our days on earth are finished we will be in your presence. What a glorious day that will be. Please walk beside your daughter Carol and her husband in this journey. In the precious name of Jesus we ask these things. Amen.

  2. Anita Sherwood says:

    Janet, this is so well written.. you have such a knack to convey.. whoops.. I just saw my first humming bird out my desk window.. do I get a bit distracted easily.. yup.. I’m sure you can use what you have learned a bit deeper… for your teachings, mentoring… you always LAND ON YOUR FEET!… and that’s what’s its all about, yes???? Gary and Leave tomorrow morning for Ut. Our son David is getting his PHD.. and we want to join the family to support him at his commencement and party later.. We will be back this Sat. We will be staying at your youngest.. Mary’s home helping to cut down two big trees to make room for a garden… hope to see you when get back.. Mary and I will go for walks too. and see how I do.. hugs and loves.. Anita

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Thank you Anita for your love, prayers, and always being my cheerleader. Have a safe trip and blessed time with family. I hope to get out walking a little myself this week as I see the forecast if for sunshine! Maybe soon we will walk together. Much love to you too!

  3. Lu Vincent says:

    Janet, Ron and I were with our family in Oregon in April. The great grands are 2 and 5 now.I forgot how much energy goes with that! While there I had an attack of gout and spent most of my time with a foot soak and ibuprofen. Had time to read THE BIG AGENDA by David H. Really good reading.
    Your ordeal has been a testimony in faith and love. I have kept you in my prayers. I admire your
    strength no matter the arrows that are shot at you.
    God Bless you,
    Lu

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Lu I’m so sorry to hear about the gout. I hope you’ve checked out trigger foods to avoid. If you need help with that just call or email me. Thank you for your prayers, love, and support. I cherish them and both of you.

  4. Cynthia Hosking says:

    Hi Janet! It’s so good to have you back, and a huge praise that your feeling better! Thank you for sharing Romans 8:26. As someone who suffers chronic pain, I sometimes find it hard to pray as well. It’s glorious that the Spirit intercedes during those times! Thanks for the encouragement! 😘

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Cynthia please know that we pray continuously for you too! I don’t know how anyone can go through these difficult seasons without the Lord. Praise God is near to the suffering.

  5. Tracy Wilson says:

    Janet, I was wondering where you were!
    So happy to hear you are now on the road to recovery.
    What a year it has been! Yet I see God’s fingerprints all over this. 🙂
    Keep pressing on toward the mark sister…..
    Praying you feel His loving presence today and the HOPE that can only come from Him.
    Be blessed! 💕

  6. Mary Kay Moody says:

    So hard to see in the foggy valley of pain and challenge. Yes as others have said, on the pathway up and out, we often see God’s fingerprints all over our struggle. Praying, dear sister. Welcoming your smile back.

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Thank you for the prayers Mary Kay. As soon as I hit post on this blog I started having symptoms again. I’m hoping not to be back in that foggy pain valley. More tests will tell. But you are right God is there through it all. Can’t imagine going through trials without Him.

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